Will Ferrell Shortens Dodge's Path to Purchase -- Greg DePalma, TiVo

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Cover image for  article: Will Ferrell Shortens Dodge's Path to Purchase -- Greg DePalma, TiVo

The first time I saw the Dodge “Anchorman” TV commercial I thought, “This is brilliant.” I did not think “Wow, this is a brand ambassador that really fits the marketing strategy”; I simply laughed out loud, grabbed my TiVo remote, hit rewind, and played again. When I heard the news that Anchorman Ron Burgundy Ads Drive 61% Surge in Dodge Durango Sales , I nearly fell off my La-Z-Boy®.

I thought the campaign was genius, but in full disclosure, I am a huge Will Ferrell fan. I love all of his movies, and that even includes “Elf.” I own “Anchorman” – originally on DVD, later purchased on iTunes, and now safely stored in my iCloud account for access anywhere. I’ve spent years analyzing commercial fast forward rates and I’ve seen the celebrity effect on commercials and movie ads. Simply put, when celebrities are on, fast forwarding is mitigated.

The Ron Burgundy character brings a huge advantage to Dodge. Viewers pay attention either because they want to see Will Ferrell or because they initially think the Dodge ad is the movie’s trailer. After the initial ad exposure, engaged viewers don’t care whether it’s a truck ad or the movie trailer; they’re watching and laughing.

The Dodge campaign is a simple case of attributing a TV campaign to sales. Most advertisers are not so lucky. They know TV works, but with all the digital clickstream tracking, TV has become more of the unknown in attribution models. Brands and agencies tell me how they struggle with accurate attribution of advertising to sales. Especially for complicated longer term sales like automotive. There is no simple solution, but a single-source closed-loop database analysis could be a brand’s best bet.

At TiVo Research and Analytics we leverage a client’s own customer databases to measure attribution. For example with automotive, we track different TV creative ad exposures in combination with customer touch points like direct marketing, dealer visits, website engagement and other clicks on the road to purchase. I work daily with clients to build proprietary databases that align TV and digital ad exposure with product purchases in the same household, actually…tens of thousands of single-source households.

These new big data sets are challenging marketing mix models and ad-tracking studies to deliver a more complete and accurate picture of the sales experience. On the surface, this new methodology may not be as exciting as this weekend’s “Anchorman: The Legend Continues” theatrical release. So for the marketers and fans of Will Ferrell, check out this clip with Burgundy’s evening news team battling Vince Vaughn and the #2 news station; signing off until the premiere.

Greg DePalma is Vice President of Audience Insights at TiVo Inc., where he consults withGreg DePalmaadvertiser, agency, and network clients to increase commercial effectiveness in a DVR world. Greg can be reached at gdepalma@tivo.com.

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